Category Archives: Lifestyles

The Stress Of Staying Home

How to handle the mental challenges of social distancing

The concept of “social distancing” was no doubt a mystery to millions of people prior to 2020. But in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus that was first discovered in China in late 2019 but soon spread across the globe, social distancing became a household term.

Social distancing refers to actions deliberately designed to increase the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. The American Psychological Association notes that social distancing typically requires that people stay at least six feet apart from each other while also avoiding gathering spaces such as schools, churches, concert halls, and public transportation. In

Deadly pandemic intensifying across state, nation

First, the good news. Since I wrote the citizens’ guide to the coronavirus pandemic two weeks ago, I have witnessed and been made aware of dozens of acts of kindness, heroism and community spirit all across the county. Many folks are hunkering down, making unprecedented sacrifices to save themselves and to help protect others from becoming infected. Your efforts will be rewarded tenfold, in many different ways.

But many have even gone beyond social distancing and self-preservation. Our longtime friends, Betty and Ed McDaniel, along with a number of dedicated volunteers and staff at Hagood Mill, are preparing and distributing free meals to those who have fallen on hard times due to the pandemic. Call Hagood Mill at 898-2936 for more information.

The School District of Pickens County has provided thousands of meals to students in every nook and cranny of the county who might otherwise go hungry.

Many stores have stepped up to implement measures to help keep their shelves stocked, in some case limiting the number of customers in the store at any given time, and some have imposed special times for older folks to shop; all designed to help customers limit exposure to the virus.

To all of you, I say in true Southern fashion, bless your heart. We appreciate all that you have done. I wish I had more time and space to recognize all those who have gone above and beyond the call, but we need to move on to the not-so-good news.

The Pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has now found its way throughout the length and breadth of the country. We are finding out that this new virus is extremely virulent and it has a remarkable ability

Softening the blow

Ways you can support
local businesses during mandatory restrictions

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 throughout the United States in March 2020 transformed American lives in ways many might never have imagined possible. Social distancing recommendations and restrictions on gatherings of more than a handful of people had a ripple effect on the economy that adversely affected many small businesses.
Small businesses are the backbones of local communities. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.9 percent of all businesses in the United States and employ 59.9 million employees. The SBA notes that the accommodation and food services sector is the second largest small business industry. Many of these businesses have been hit especially hard as more and more of their regular customers stay at home in the wake of government advisories promoting social distancing.
But small businesses are vital to local communities, and there are ways to support them and help

How families can confront remote learning

Amid concerns of coronavirus clusters and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, and based on social distancing recommendations from medical professionals, schools across the country began to close their doors and adopt a remote learning model in March 2020. One of the largest communities affected was New York City, which closed schools across the five boroughs. The New York City school system is vast, with 1,800 schools servicing more than one million students.
School administrators and educators quickly scrambled to find a workaround to meet children’s educational needs. Remote learning has been a part of many school curriculums for some time. While remote learning had predominantly been reserved for higher learning institutions, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, it became a necessity for grades K through 12 as well. Teachers have had to design curriculums and assignments virtually on the fly in an attempt to minimize disruptions that could adversely affect students.
Remote learning requires the cooperation of school staff and also parents and guardians. Patience is necessary, and parents and educators may need to completely transform their daily schedules. The following tips can be an asset as students continue to navigate remote learning.
• Record class sessions. Teachers can consider recording or “going live” with class instruction so that students can view the video and still have access to their teachers. This helps parents who may be unfamiliar with explaining the curriculum.
• Utilize chat features. Remote education software programs likely have a chat or “hangout” feature, which enables classrooms to keep in touch and ask questions in real time.
• Keep a schedule. It’s easy to begin to sleep late and fall out of routine when not required to go to a school building. Families should make scheduling a priority, which can help students stay on top of lessons and complete their assignments on time.
• Ask questions. Everyone is learning as they go, and further clarification may be needed. Students should email or chat with teachers if they don’t understand an assignment or are unsure about instructions. Teachers may be able to clearly model a math problem or explain a concept via video chat for students who need help.
• Explore educational options. Many companies are offering free educational services while kids are home from school. is offering online courses, Nat Geo for Kids, Fun Brain, PBS Kids, and Highlight Kids are other  places to turn to for activities.
Remote learning has become the new norm as the world continues to navigate COVID-19 in an effort to keep the public safe.

This is not a drill

There is plenty of doom and gloom about the coronavirus out there, so how about a little good news for a change? The good news is there is something that actually works. It’s not a cure-all drug, a vaccine (which is at best a year away) or some snake oil concoction you can buy on the internet. It’s called social distancing, and it is easier and more effective than you might think.

Let’s look first at what social distancing is and what it is not. It is not locking yourself up in the house for some undetermined length of time. You can go outside and take a walk around the neighborhood. You can sit on the porch and watch the squirrels and the birds and your neighbors as they pass by. You can drive to a park, stroll a well-worn path and commune with nature. You can go to the store to get groceries, or to the gas station to fill up the car, or to the drug store to get your medicines, or to big box stores to replenish your supply of all those things essential to life.

The term social distancing actually refers to two things. First, it does indeed mean spending most of your time at home, but you can avoid cabin fever or just plain old boredom by venturing out from time to time. More about how to safely do that later on. The other aspect of social distancing is maintaining a safe distance of six to eight feet between you and other people at all times and in all places.

Your goal in social distancing should be to make your home your safe space, the one place where you can be reasonably certain that you will not come in contact with the coronavirus. To make that happen, you will have to do something that goes against our natural instinct, the very fiber of our being. Humans are social creatures, and here in the South, we are some of the friendliest, most hospitable and gracious people on the planet. Our southern hospitality is legendary. Lord knows I love the South and thank the good Lord every day that I grew up where I did, and that I was raised the way I was.

Regardless of where you are from or how you were raised, in order to create your safe space, in order to protect yourself, you are going to have to make sure that someone does not bring the coronavirus into your sanctuary. This means that you should not invite or allow anyone, other than

‘Her rightful place’

By Dr. Thomas Cloer, Jr.

Special to The Courier

For the last three weeks, we have been reviewing the book “Hush Now, Baby,” by Angela Williams from a wealthy, white South Carolina family in Berkeley County. We have reviewed this book because it focuses on an African-American nanny, Eva, in the Williams household during segregation, passage of laws giving civil rights to all and the integration of races in South Carolina and the United States.

Social Justice and Civil Rights

Social justice and civil rights are very recent phenomena, relatively speaking. The first of Eva’s African people were brought and sold at auction about 400 years ago in the United States. That’s when the very first black slaves were kidnapped in Africa. When we move forward to the American Civil War over slavery, and its conclusion on April 9, 1865, we see how recent the fight over social justice has been. Complete segregation, and all the recent federal laws requiring integration, have occurred in Angela Williams and my lifetimes, and also in the lifetimes of most people reading this.

If the Bible Belt has been slow to embrace social justice, civil rights and intermarriage, some of the reasons must be related to how recent these changes are. Attitudes, especially those that are

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Black nanny helps author weather the storm of life in wealthy Lowcountry family

The author, Angela Williams, in her marvelous book “Hush Now, Baby,” writes much about South Carolina politics that were affecting black people’s lives as her beloved African-American nanny tried to live in two worlds during very trying times. The author and I are both in our 70s. We lived during segregation and Jim Crow laws that required different schools, beaches, motels and bathrooms. It was our generation that saw civil rights bestowed with the integration of schools and drinking fountains. Williams was from a rich Lowcountry family who had a very close friend, Strom Thurmond. Throughout the book, it was the beloved nanny, Eva, who saw to the needs of Angela Williams, and acted as her real mother.

“While Clara Lee (her mother) sipped cocktails and flirted with Buster (her father), Eva nurtured

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Eva Aiken: Anchor for a rich, dysfunctional white family

By Dr. Thomas Cloer, Jr.

Special to The Courier

Last week, for the celebration of Black History Month, we introduced the book “Hush Now, Baby,” by Angela Williams. Williams is a marvelous writer with a master’s degree in English from Duke University. She taught English and was in charge of the Writing Center at the Citadel. I was on the campus several times when Williams was there.

The book tells the story of Williams’ black nanny, Eva, in her wealthy and dysfunctional Lowcountry South Carolina home. The book’s author had Eva Aiken as a surrogate mother from her birth to marriage. Eva was working as a nurse’s aide at the hospital where Angela was born in 1941. Buster and Clara Lee Williams hired Eva on the spot to run the Williams household. Throughout Buster Williams’ alcoholism, infidelity, and abuse, the family had Eva as the anchor. This was happening as the struggle for civil rights continued in South Carolina. The book delineates the progression of the transformation occurring as the nanny runs the household of a wealthy white family whose political views regularly welcomed Strom Thurmond as a dear friend into their home.

Williams writes about how Eva was the one she could depend on in any circumstance. Buster

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Living in two worlds

The story of a black nanny

in segregated South Carolina

—– Part 1—–

By Dr. Thomas Cloer, Jr.

Special to The Courier

To celebrate Black History Month, I would highly recommend “Hush Now, Baby,” by a wonderful South Carolina writer, Angela Williams. This book is a read I’ve been wanting to undertake for a while.

Angela Williams is an educator and writer close to my age in her 70s. She taught English at the Citadel for 20 years, and I was on Citadel’s campus several times when she was there. I had a colleague at the Citadel who invited me to be a speaker there on different occasions. My wife and I were treated royally as we lodged and took our meals in the Officers’ Quarters.

Angela is from a rich family in Berkeley County. The Williams family held vast amounts of

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